Saturday, August 27, 2011

Letting go and moving on to grilled pizza!

Since I went back to work in April I’ve been struggling to keep up. Maybe some of you know where I’m coming from and can relate--the house, yard work, garden, bill paying, paperwork, errands, family, friends, community and commitments, it’s left little time for anything else.

I didn’t plan on this job turning permanent or being so all consuming—but those are good things, right?  With the economy in shambles and so many still unemployed, it would be selfish of me not to be grateful for the good fortune of finding a job with such potential for growth.

I hate disappointing anyone and “No” has never been a word I’ve been comfortable using when I’ve been asked to help out (a psychologist would probably have a lot to say about that).  I’m also a “recovering” procrastinator which means I’ve sometimes had to stay up till 3:00 AM to finish projects that had deadlines.  That was “OK”  while I was unemployed because I could steal a cat nap during the day, but I doubt I’d be able to come up with  a plausible explanation to my boss, if I did that at work. 

What’s really painful for me, is admitting that I can’t finish something that I started and having to give it back unfinished or pass it along to someone else partially complete. I feel a bit like a failure or a fraud.

So this past month, I’ve been having some serious conversations with “SELF” about what I can reasonably achieve in the limited time I have available outside of work and still feed myself and wear clean clothes.  The net result of these “heart to hearts”is that some of my leisure time activities have to be shelved and put on the back burner, at least for the present—maybe indefinitely. 

In order to do this, I had to make a list of the things that I’m unwilling to give up  with a scale of 1 to 10 based on their value and importance to the quality of my life,   Don’t worry---blogging made one of the top spots on the list!  So did sewing/quilting and gardening though I’m going to scale back a bit on gardening.

Some of the things that I’m shelving, I will miss but in the long view  they are not adding enough enjoyment for the amount of time that I allot to them and are cluttering up my life and my space and possibly holding me back from achieving more in my other areas of interest.

I feel good about the decisions I’ve made because I know I’ll now have more time to devote to the pursuits I really care about and I’ll be able to share more with all of you too!

So now on to grilled pizza!

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I started making grilled pizza a couple of years ago.   I can remember why too—I’d picked up some pizza dough at the supermarket on a humid Friday night on the way home from work because my daughter and a friend were here for the weekend. After being closed up all day the house was just too hot and humid to turn on the oven.  

This pizza comes out delicious.  If you like thin crust pizza, flatbread pizza or anything other than deep dish you will LOVE, LOVE this pizza.

I should first tell you that I  use my gas grill just about everyday during the summer and fall and even in winter.  Heck the only time I haven’t used my grill is during a nor’easter! 

So here’s how to make grilled pizza.  Once you make this, you’ll never settle for any other kind.  It’s FAST too.

Grilled Pizza Ingredients: 

  • Gas grill
  • Pizza dough, either homemade or store bought.  (I buy a brand called “Portsmouth Pie Company” at my supermarket).  My favorite is whole wheat.  It should be room temperature for best results
  • Olive oil for brushing or make ahead garlic oil (see recipe that follows)
  • Pizza Sauce – any kind, jarred is fine, you can use left over spaghetti sauce.   I’ve also used Alfredo sauce for white pizza and mixed BBQ sauce with tomato sauce for BBQ chicken pizza.
  • Any toppings you like—Fresh tomatoes from the garden, leftover veggies, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, grilled eggplant, turkey pepperoni, leftover sausage meat, shredded cheese, leftover chicken, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese,
1) Preheat your  grill, if you have a top shelf, heat it to medium high, if you don’t have an upper shelf on your grill, light only one side or burner.  Spray the grill with PAM or brush with olive oil.    Close the cover of the grill and let it get hot.   One note here—make sure your grill racks are clean or whatever is stuck to them will be on the pizza, hopefully it will taste good.
2) Divide the ball of dough into four parts.  This will make four good sized individual pizzas.  You can refrigerate any dough that you don’t want to use up to 3 or 4 days (I wouldn’t go longer than that before using it up).
3) Shape the four pieces of dough into a ball and brush very lightly with olive oil and let them sit for about five to ten minutes to rest.  After that roll the dough out onto a plastic cutting board (mine is about 10” x 13”) so you can pick it up and put it on the grill.  Shape it into a rectangle as best you can with a rolling pin or your hands.   If it “fights” you, give it a short rest and repeat shaping till you have a pretty even thickness.  Brush it lightly with olive oil and let it rest another five minutes.
4) Now carry the cutting board to the grill and carefully peel the dough off the board and place it onto the top grill rack with the oil side down.  You still have a few seconds to pull/ push reshape it if it didn’t come off the board perfectly—this is a rustic pizza anyway so don’t OCD about the shape. 
5) If you don’t have an upper rack in your grill, do the same procedure but put the dough opposite the burner that’s lit (indirect grilling). 
6) Close the grill cover and wait 5 to 10 minutes, then using kitchen tongs—check the dough.  You’re only cooking one side at this point—the bottom, so carefully lift to check for grill marks and that the dough can be lifted easily off the grill.  The top should be under done but not doughy. 
7) When the bottom’s done, lift it onto the cutting board and brush the top lightly with oil, then flip it so the grill marks are on top and spread your sauce, seasonings, toppings and cheese onto the pizza crust.   Return it to the bottom grill rack.  Reduce the heat or turn off the opposite burner and close the grill.  Check every five minutes.   My grill takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the pizza using only one burner and indirect heat. 

Garlic Oil

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves, separated, peeled and smashed.

Place garlic in a sauce pan with EVOO and heat on medium till tiny bubbles form around the pieces of garlic.  Watch carefully if garlic starts to brown, reduce heat,  garlic should just simmer for seven to ten minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Pour into an air-tight jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.  Yum, yum—use in salads, brush on veggies before grilling, use for garlic toast.  It’s wonderful.

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